Writing / Grammer | Commas, semicolon, Colon, Possessives, Adjectives, Nouns, Pronouns, Abbreviations, Titles

Writing / Grammer Business Communications and Grammer

Writing is an important part of doing business. Most people, me included, could deffinetly use some help when it comes to proper grammer usage, letter writing, and more. Since I'm not very good in the area myself, I'm including notes from a class I took in business communications. Clear writing and grammer is part of advertising and marketing.

Writing / Grammer When to Use a Comma

One of the toughest set of writing rules deals with when to use commas. Here is a website that can help take the “mystery” out of commas. It addresses many of the myths about commas that we were told in grade school. In fact, a really long sentence can be perfectly okay without commas; and “When you take a breath—you need a comma” is definitely not true.


Writing / Grammer Commas & Semicolons Used With Independent Clauses

· Use a comma before a conjunction that joins two independent clauses.

Our listings include several charming colonial-style houses, but none of them meet your space requirements.

Are you really interested in leasing warehouse space, or would you prefer to purchase your own facilities?

· Use a semicolon between two independent clauses that are not joined by a conjunction.

Semicolon Examples:
Homes in Glen Oaks are very convenient to public transportation; express buses to the business district depart every 15 minutes.

We do not think the building is structurally sound; the foundation is in need of major repairs in several places.

· Use a semicolon before the conjunction that joins two independent clauses if either of the clauses contains commas or other internal punctuation.

Semicolon Examples:
Come in on Monday, June 22; or if you prefer, call me to arrange another date.

Tom said, “I don’t want to go”; but I think he’s not telling the truth.


· Use semicolons to separate items in a series if they contain internal punctuation (such as commas).

Semicolon Examples:

Tenants are urged to take advantage of the pool, which opens May 31; the four tennis courts, which are lighted until 10 p.m.; and the exercise rooms, which include men’s and women’s saunas.

Please bring the following on the trip: a flashlight; a thermos, presently on sale at Target; and a map.

Writing / Grammer Colons

· Primarily, colons are used after the introduction of a series of items.

Colon Example:

All managers should bring the following to the meeting: a data sheet, a budget plan, and a calculator.


· When showing separate ownership, use the possessive at the end of each noun.

Seperate Ownership Examples:

Sara’s and Tom’s reports were in competition with each other.

Clara’s and Susan’s offices are adjacent to each other.

Writing / Grammer JOINT OWNERSHIP

· When showing joint ownership, only use the possessive at the end of the last noun.

Joint Ownership Examples:

Bob, Tom, and Sue’s document was submitted on time.

Tim and Alisha’s son was elected president.


· For words ending in a letter other than “s” form the possessive by adding (’s).

Form Possessives Examples:

My brother’s car is being repaired.

The men’s bowling league begins on February 1.

· For plural words ending in an “s” form the possessive by adding an apostrophe (’).


The jurors’ opinions will determine the outcome.

The committees’ schedules will be posted.

· For singular words ending in an “s” form the possessive by adding (’s).


One witness’s comment was especially helpful.

My boss’s report will be ready tomorrow.


· Spell out numbers from one through ten, but use figures for numbers 11 on.

Transcribing Numbers Examples:

We ordered eight cartons of forms.

We ordered 25 cartons of forms.

Writing / Grammer Transcribing Numbers EXCEPTIONS:

· Always use figures for percentages (5 percent)

· Always use figures for measurements (2 feet, 6 pounds)

· Always use figures when using a.m. and p.m. (1 p.m., 8 a.m.)

· Always use words for numbers that begin a sentence (Thirty-five students attended the class.)

· Use the same style to express numbers that apply to the same category within a sentence. If at least one of the numbers should be a figure, use figures for all of the numbers.


Prepare a requisition for 4 printers, 15 computers, and 6 modems.

Prepare a requisition for four printers, seven computers, and six modems.

Prepare a requisition for 4 printers, 15 computers, and 6 modems, four days ago.


· To determine if two adjectives appearing together in a sentence need a comma to separate them, ask the following question:

“Can the adjectives be switched and the sentence still sound correct?”

If the answer is yes—a comma is needed to separate them.

If the answer is no—a comma is not needed to separate them.


Bob drives a red sports car.

It was an interesting, informative speech.

HINT: Another way to check to see if a comma is necessary is to insert the word “and” in between the two adjectives. If the sentence still sounds correct, a comma is needed to separate the two adjectives.

Writing / Grammer USING “I” OR “ME”

· When determining whether to use “I” or “me,” delete the words coupled with the “I” or “me” and decide which of the pronouns sounds the best. This is the correct one to use.


They have asked Sue and me to give the presentation.

Dave and I will attend the meeting.

Writing / Grammer USE OF “SELF” PRONOUNS

· Only use “self” pronouns (myself, yourself, herself) when the noun/pronoun to which it refers has been mentioned earlier in the sentence.


I have tried to pace myself in completing the project.

Sue has resigned herself to the fact that she will not be selected.

Writing / Grammer ABBREVIATIONS

Grammer and writing is part of effective advertising and marketing. Something I need to work on too.

· An abbreviation for one word requires a period.


Doctor = Dr.

Mister = Mr.

· An abbreviation for more than one word does not require periods.


Federal Bureau of Investigation = FBI

National Football League = NFL

Writing / Grammer EXCEPTION:

Always use periods in the abbreviations U.S. and U.S.A.

Writing / Grammer TITLES

· Italicize (underline) titles of complete works such as books, magazines, newspapers, movies, television shows, albums, plays, etc.

I read about it in Newsweek.

I loved the movie Gone With the Wind.

· Use quotation marks around titles of parts of works such as articles from newspapers or magazines, chapters from books, songs, episodes from television shows, etc.


“Working Mothers” was an interesting article in People magazine.

Read Chapter 7, “How to Write a Resume.”


· Periods and commas always fall inside of the closing quotation mark.


Tim said, “I will call her tomorrow.”

“I will call her tomorrow,” said Tim.

· Semicolons and colons always fall outside of the closing quotation mark.

· Place question marks and exclamation points inside of the closing quotation mark if they are part of the quote.


James said, “Will you be attending the meeting?”

Who said, “ Give me liberty or give me death”?

Sheila exclaimed, “I can’t believe I won!”

Writing / Grammer | “WHO” VERSUS “WHOM”

· Use “who” as the subject of the sentence, and use “whom” as the object of the sentence.


Mabel was not sure whom to trust.

Bob asked Dave who had given him the document.

Below is a List of My Most Read Entries
Search Engine Optimization
Presentation Skills & Public Speaking Presentation Tips & Ideas
Sample Marketing Plan IMC Integrated Marketing Communications
72 Examples of Best Print Advertisements
Business Letter Format/ Formal Letter Writing